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Cartomancy Collection

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Cartomancy Collection


Tarot cards--History.; Divination.


Cartomancy is the term for divination by cards -- an ancient practice frequently associated with gypsies. It typically involves Tarot cards ("Tarot" being a French derivative of the Italian "tarocchi," meaning "triumphs" or "trumps"). These are 78 cards in two parts: the Major Arcana (22 separately titled picture cards, such as The Magician, The Moon, and other universal symbols) and the Minor Arcana (consisting of four suits). The cards are typically shuffled, laid face down in any of several various spreads (such as the Celtic Cross), then read by turning each one over and interpreting it based on supposed psychic ability or intuition.
Ordinary playing cards (which some say evolved from the Tarot deck) can also be used, although they of course lack the Major Arcana. Since both types of cards have four suits, those of the tarot are substituted as follows: Wands (clubs), Swords (spades), Cups (hearts), and Pentacles (diamonds). Each Tarot suit has an additional card, the Page, not found in playing cards.
(See Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Encyclopedia of the Strange, Mystical, & Unexplained, New York: Gramercy Books, 1991, 602-604.)

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